A Day with David Scott: “Thinking the Caribbean, Thinking the World”


A Day with David Scott [Une journée avec David Scott] is part of the program “Thinking the Caribbean, Thinking the World” [Penser la Caraïbe, penser le monde]; it is designed as a “day of study” with the Mondes Caraïbes et Transatlantiques en Mouvement (MCTM) research group sponsored by Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris (FMSH); UMR « Passages », CNRS, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne; with CESSMA and LLCP (Paris 8); and the Institut du Tout-Monde (ITM). The event takes place on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, at Université de Paris-Diderot (Paris 7), located at 5 Rue Thomas Mann, 75013 Paris, France. This colloquium recognizes David Scott as one of the leading Caribbean thinkers and his contribution to postcolonial criticism.

Description: Caribbean anthropology and postcolonial criticism as a whole owe much to the thought of David Scott.

An anthropologist of Jamaican origins, professor at Columbia University, David Scott now belongs to the family of “Caribbean thinkers” whose non-formalized relationship value their common stance—at once engaged, eclectic, critical, encamped on the refusal of dogmatism, averse to false universalisms, dissecting Western modernity and its foundations in the (post) colonial moment that it continues to generate. Little known in France, the works of David Scott stem from a generation of Caribbean and Anglo American specialists. They fuel innovative and contradictory debates that renew the questioning of an anthropology still inhabited by the issue of the “verification” of Africanism in the Caribbean.

The journal Small Axe, which he founded in 1997, is a reflection of his thought. Taking the Jamaican proverb made famous by Bob Marley—”If you are a big tree, we are a small axe”—it is an open and unrestricted space where ideas are brewed according to the principle of trial and error or indeterminacy (a process of knowledge “without a pre-ordained or ready-made map of the right path to follow”; “a work-in-progress”; “an ongoing platform for critical engagement.”) With unusual aesthetics, Small Axe provides a set of rich texts that restore connections between the social sciences, visual arts, poetry and literature, while devoting itself to the ideas that led to the formation of “Caribbean modernities.”

If one were to briefly summarize the contributions of David Scott to research, one should first discuss their eclecticism, drawing on anthropology, philosophy, history of ideas, political theory, and literary studies. [. . .]

David Scott is Professor of Anthropology and Fellow in the Institute for Research in African American Studies, Columbia University, New York. He is the author of a number of scholarly articles and three books, Formations of Ritual: Colonial and Anthropological Discourses on the Sinhala Yaktovil (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994); Refashioning Futures: Criticism after Postcoloniality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999); and Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), and co-editor with Charles Hirschkind of Powers of the Secular Modern: Talal Asad and his Interlocutors (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006). He is also the editor of the journal Small Axe.

For full schedule, contacts and more information, see http://www.tout-monde.com/~txtdui4.rtf/cycleplc.davidscott.html, http://www.red-redial.net/fr/amerique-actualite-12227.html, and https://blogs.mediapart.fr/edition/institut-du-tout-monde/article/300916/une-journee-avec-david-scott-itm-mctm-fmsh-mardi-25-octobre-paris-7

See bio at http://socialdifference.columbia.edu/people/david-scott

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